Deforestation is on the rise in China due to the high usage of disposable chopsticks. While this might not directly affect New York City, this problem is only escalated by the use of disposable chopsticks in New York’s own Chinatown and other restaurants throughout the city.
How often do you even have a second thought about those chopsticks that you pull apart and then discard with your napkin at the end of your meal?
In an October 24 article for the “Green” blog on The New York Times‘ website, Rachel Nuwer discusses how approximately 3.8 million trees in China go into the production of about 57 billion pairs of disposable chopsticks each year. In Nuwer’s article “Disposable Chopsticks Strip Asian Forests,” she tells how this production industry only adds to the 10,800 square miles of Asian forests that are disappearing each year, according to a 2008 United Nations report.
Of the half of disposable chopsticks that are imported out of China, only 2% end up in United States restaurants. Although this seems like an insignificant number compared to the half of disposable chopsticks that remain in China, use of reusable plastic chopsticks can help.
If you’re ever in Chinatown maybe go grab a pair and help out a tree in China.